Heroin is a powerful illicit substance that originates from morphine harvested from the opium poppy plant. It is then refined to a powder or sticky tar-like substance called black tar heroin.
Synthetic heroin is characterized by mixing natural heroin with a combination of synthetic opioids such as fentanyl that make the effects of the substance far more powerful and dangerous.
Learn more about the different types of heroin.
What Is Synthetic Heroin?
Synthetic opioids are manufactured in a laboratory and have similar effects to that of natural opioids on the brain’s opioid receptors. When used, they produce a strong analgesic and euphoric sensation.
In recent years, some drug dealers have resorted to combining synthetic opioid medications with forms of heroin to create a hybrid drug that is more cost-effective.
Common types of synthetic heroin include:
- china white heroin — a type of white powder heroin that is laced with the synthetic opioid fentanyl
- blue heroin — blue heroin is a powder that is tinted blue due to the presence of both fentanyl and cocaine
- pink heroin — pink heroin, or “pinky”, is light-pink colored heroin mixed with a number of opioids such as carfentanil
Regardless of the formulation, people who use synthetic heroin such as those listed above are at risk for several potentially life-threatening health risks.
Side Effects And Dangers Of Synthetic Heroin
The primary reason that synthetic opioid analgesics are so dangerous is that they’re far more potent than natural opioids such as codeine and morphine.
People can easily overdose on synthetic heroin because it takes a very small amount to be as effective as heroin ingested by itself.
If an overdose does occur, call the emergency department immediately. Healthcare providers can administer a drug called naloxone (Narcan), which can reverse the effects of opioid overdose.
Dangers and side effects of synthetic heroin drug use may include:
- permanent brain damage
- the onset of mental illness
- nausea and vomiting
- loss of consciousness
- respiratory arrest
- heroin overdose death
Additionally, there are risks associated with sharing heroin needles that include contracting infections such as HIV/AIDS or hepatitis.
There is a greater risk of drug overdose death if synthetic heroin is mixed with other depressants such as benzodiazepines or alcohol.
Treatment Programs For A Heroin Use Disorder
If you or a loved one are addicted to synthetic heroin, help is available at an evidence-based treatment center.
Substance abuse treatment options for heroin addiction may include:
- medication-assisted treatment for heroin using buprenorphine (Suboxone), methadone, or naltrexone (Vivitrol)
- group, individual, and family counseling
- medical detox for heroin
- dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring disorders
- 12-step programs
- support groups for opioid addiction
Prescription opioid pain relievers such as hydrocodone (Vicodin), fentanyl, oxycodone (Oxycontin), and other controlled substances can have dangerous effects when mixed with other opiates such as heroin.
Due to the risk of severe withdrawal symptoms, it’s important to seek the help of a reputable rehab center before attempting to stop synthetic heroin use cold turkey.
Find Addiction Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center
Call Bedrock Recovery Center for more information on our inpatient treatment options for opioid use. Our team will provide the services you or your loved one need to achieve a heroin-free life.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — Polysubstance Use Facts https://www.cdc.gov/stopoverdose/polysubstance-use/index.html
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — Heroin DrugFacts https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugfacts/heroin
- National Institute of Health (NIH) — Fentanyl DrugFacts https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugfacts/fentanyl
- National Institute of Health (NIH) — Fentanyl DrugFacts https://www.hhs.gov/opioids/prevention/index.html
- U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) — Synthetic Opioids https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/Synthetic%20Opioids-2020.pdf